Thanksgiving Day has always been my favorite holiday, with its simple focus on a gathering of family, friends, and sometimes strangers for a feast to celebrate God’s abundance. Like the good deed that goes not unpunished it is now engulfed in violent gridiron sports, an obscene scramble for merchandise gnawing at its shrinking stage.

As we feed the economic machine, the holiday concludes with an immense explosion of fossil fuels to whisk us back to ordinary (Christmas shopping!) time. Instead of schooling us in gratitude it leads us into greed and competition. It leaves me looking forward once again to Pentecost, my last best hope for holidays.

The poignancy of Thanksgiving’s beleaguered state renews my realization that we are servants of our gods. And gods require sacrifice. That is what a god is.

“The Economy,” whose fine-tuned appetite requires sacrificing families to its priests on Wall Street, academe, and government. “The [football, basketball, you name it] Team,” feeding on the aspirations of the young and the lost hopes of the old. And then, of course, “America” in all its guises — military, cultural, racial, even ecological.

We cannot live without our gods, unless we are true atheists who will make no sacrifice at all, not even for another human being. So sometimes we construct a pantheon, trying to balance them with one another, a government of checks and balances. Other times we make a ladder leading up, we hope, to heaven. We live upon a pyramid of sacrifice where we must decide at every moment when the lower gods must yield to higher calls to sacrifice.

This leaves me wondering this morning after what it means to follow a light and life that was the end to sacrifice, an end to lower and higher gods. What is it to truly love the Creator of us all?

While America doesn’t want to let us pause to wonder at this question, perhaps we might sneak in a moment in the coming often hectic weeks. Take it as an assignment in waiting, in Advent. An overture to the turning to the light that is solstice, that is Hannukah, that is Christmas.

Meanwhile, I share a poem about our planet’s plight.

Earth gasping

overheated from the race

against our human grasping

reeling from its broken pace…


4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving”

  1. Hi Bill,

    Your website is attractive and informative. My site will be going in a few months. Current efforts are on rewriting and editing book sections.

    Happy Holidays,


  2. Glenda Beall recommended your website. I’m glad she told us Netwest writers about your site. It’s great and I liked your poem a lot. I will visit your blog again.

  3. As always, I appreciate your keen insights and ability to express yourself in words that serve to paint a picture for us mortals.

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